Staged at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles, the 2023 ESPY Awards began on a high note this past Wednesday (July 12) with a captivating performance from Lil Wayne. His 2008 single “A Milli” received a fitting revamp on the ESPY floor, featuring a sports-centric verse.
Donning Marc Jacobs x Dr. Martens boots, Weezy paid homage to prominent sports figures in his act. Among the notable shoutouts from the rapper were LSU’s Angel Reese, Buffalo Bills’ Damar Hamlin, Super Bowl legend Deion Sanders, and NBA icon Dennis Rodman.
Wayne rapped, “I want my NIL, so I’m going back to college. Tattoos on my face, you could call me Dennis Rodman.” The lyrics referenced Rodman recently getting his girlfriend’s face tattooed on his cheek. He also churned a line about Reese: “And I’m over New Orleans like an Angel Reese and my pencil elite.”
Afterward, Wayne graciously acknowledged the enthusiastic applause from the audience. “Thank you,” Wayne said. “Welcome to the 2023 ESPYs. Thank you for your time. I appreciate you.”
Moreover, celebrities from the world of sports and music also graced the event. The crowd featured familiar faces such as Quavo, 2 Chainz, and Mike Tyson. Among the evening’s winners were Nikola Jokic as Best NBA Player, Kansas City Chiefs as Best Team, and A’ja Wilson as Best WNBA Player. Other recipients included Patrick Mahomes for Best NFL Player and Lionel Messi for Best Soccer Player.
Having recently surpassed the NBA’s all-time leading points score, LeBron James accepted the award for Best Record-Breaking Performance. The basketball player dismissed retirement rumors in his speech: “The real question for me is: Can I play without cheating this game? The day I can’t give everything on the floor is the day I’ll be done. Lucky for you guys, that day is not today.”
As evident by Lil Wayne’s performance, the 2023 ESPYs blurred the line between music and sports fans and served as a platform for memorable performances and honors.